Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I've held onto this post all day long, but to not publish it means that I'm STILL hiding and cowering. I can't let the shame that I feel continue to rule my life.


I'm not quite sure how much psychology plays into what foods we crave on a daily basis, but I'm craving sweets BIG time.

All day long, all I can think about are cookies, shakes, ice cream, chocolate, and candy.

All. Day. Long.

A therapist that I saw many, many years ago said that when little kids steal candy, it's because they're really wanting something sweet...as in a sweet action towards them or for them. I stole candy ALL THE TIME when I was a kid (from my sisters or parents - not from the store). I'd hide it all over my room and then eat morsel after delicious morsel of sweet goodness - getting sick on the sugary sweetness of it all. I know the taste of tinfoil that wraps little candy eggs because getting all the foil off before shoving it in your mouth wasn't always necessary.

Every now and again I'll do the same thing, but it's been a while since I've been bitten by the sugar monster.

If there is any psychology related at all, I suspect it has everything to do with my mom's recent visit.

At one point, she told me that she thought that I was much more relaxed and at ease than I had been in a long time. I asked when she noticed the tenseness - was it when I moved to Colorado? Was it when I moved into my itty bitty tiny house a few years ago?

"No," she said. "It probably started around 6th grade."

I was shocked.

She said that I was always complaining that people were picking on me and that things weren't fair. She added, "What did you expect me to do about it?"

And, I could FEEL myself shrinking inwardly.

I wanted to yell:

What did I expect you to do? I expected you to stand up for me when I was being beaten up by bullies instead of telling me about how Christ turned the other cheek. When the friend from church came over and sat on me, tickling me until I peed, I expected you to tell his mom that she couldn't come over unless she watched her kid more closely. Instead, you invited him over for the next 10 years to continue to torment me as my older sister looked on and laughed. When my 8th grade teacher told me, in front of the class, that I couldn't ask any more questions because I irritated him, I expected you to have a conference with the principal and demand him to apologize to me. I expected you to stick up for me when my dad told me that I was getting fat and pudgy (and reminded me that no man likes "fatties"). I expected you to stand up for yourself when he said the same to you. I expected you to put a stop to the molestation that was happening to me in your own home.

Quite frankly, I expected you to be the adult. I expected you to let me be a kid without having to guard myself against constant attacks - against myself, my psyche, and my inner child. I expected you to be my safe place to fall.

In my whole life I've never been mad at my mom for not protecting me - I've felt sorry for her - that she was in her own version of hell. I know that she did as well as she could've. But it doesn't stop me from wishing that things were different.

Lately? I wish that I could've had that caring mom that I could've turned to and would've fixed the problems so that they didn't continue happening.

But they didn't. And so I grew up...comforting myself the way I knew how. And safeguarding myself as best I could against more attacks. I swore I'd never have kids - because I couldn't bear the thought of someone else feeling the way that I felt when I was growing up.

All of these thoughts drifted through my mind when she asked what I expected her to do. Knowing that she feels bad enough for what had happened, I dropped my head and just continued cutting up the t-shirts for the project we were working on.

I'm tired of the shame. But I'm realizing that the anger that's bubbling up is taking energy too. That leaves me feeling drained and down and hopeless than anything can or will change.

I wish I could put into words to someone what my life was like. Was it always horrible? No. There were good things. But it wasn't great. And it certainly wasn't healthy.

I wish I could feel heard.

I wish I could feel understood.

But instead, I eat.



lafngirl said...

I think our mothers are very similar. Its amazing how free I felt when I moved to the Denver area for 2 years from KC. My mother would never visit because I didnt have a grandchild for her to visit and I finally spent the last year I was there, not speaking to her. I lost 20 lbs without really trying while living out there without that added stress. I'm back in KC, near parents, and its back in full force.

Beyond all this... I was going to recommend that you look at Chromium Picolinate supplement. I used it years ago when it first started to be touted as helping in weight loss. Its been determined to help with insulin efficiency...but beyond all that...what it did for me was curb my sugar craving. That wasn't the end all to my issues, obviously, but during certain points of my life.. I have used it...without any side effects. Just figured it might be something that may help you if you haven't tried it before.

Lanie Painie said...

I wasn't fat as a kid, but I was bullied and neglected, not protected from molestation or verbal abuse, I wasn't kept clean and was even sent to school with a coat that the cat peed on. I completely understand what' it feels like when your own mom isn't doing her very basic duty of keeping you safe. That feeling doesn't go away.

Currenly, I'm reading "When Food is Love" by Geneen Roth and learning that addressing the pain (with myself, not my mother), acknowledging it, and working through it, will help me know that sweets won't take the pain away either. You weren't given what you were needed, then, and you were probably afraid to ask for what you needed. But now you can ask for it from your friends, partner, and your blogosphere.

You ARE lovable. We WOULD stand up for you. You ARE worth fighting for! That's a good mantra "I am worth fighting for" and I think I will repeat it to myself on my next long walk in the neighborhood or aerobics sessoin. I think you should try it too.

Mandy said...

My mother did all that you wanted your mother to do and my mother STILL stresses me out, makes me feel defeated, and picks on me. The last visit I had with her made my husband tell her to leave. She got all dramatic and said, "I will never darken your door again!"

The thing is that our mothers know how to attack. I shaved my head to raise money for childhood cancer research. My mother says, "You really should wear some make-up because you're looking kind of dikey." Another quote, "I don't understand why the women in your area don't ever try to look presentable...I mean a little lipstick would be a huge improvement."

What has helped me most is that I choose to forget all of the bad stuff and remember the good. I also believe my inner voice when it says, "You must have heard wrong, she didn't really mean that stuff, you have 'natural' beauty the screams feminine!" So, overconfident inner-voice, you have let me live a delusion once again!

POD said...

Sometimes I get the feeling that when we want to eat ice cream, candy and cookies, we want to be that little kid again. We want someone else to be responsible. Because she didn't stand up for you, you need to do it now. Quite frankly -- she probably expects you to be the adult (now) because she knows she blew it at times being the adult and she's defensive.

Candy, cookies and ice cream connect us with our youth. Unless you're like me and they connect me with everything. (except not now).

Lesia said...

WOW~ you summed it very well. I will re-think my actions when my little girl comes to me with her issues with bullies. Thank you.smile.

Wallene said...

My parents favorite saying was "We've been there and done that with your older siblings [I had TWO, big deal] and we don't have time now" - for things like soccer, cheerleading and swimming meets - they didn't care. They raised them and I was certainly an afterthought. They gave me luggage as a graduation present [hint, much?]

With my kids - you screw with them you deal with me. No questions. Having my parents, I think, made me a better parent because I knew what NOT to do. Do I slip up once and while. You betcha' - but I know it and don't do it again. They don't come with a manual and we aren't perfect. :)

I love my parents - but I wouldn't wish them on anyone. I know how to handle my Mom now - my Dad is gone.

Your post could have been written by my very bestest friend in my childhood, Dana. She developed diabetes because of her weight problems and subsequently passed away - I miss her so, so much - but she had the same type of growing up as you did and ate to assuage the pain. We were so young I didn't know how to help her - when I was older I tried but she was already patterned and wouldn't listen. I even tried being mad at her and not talking to her until she stopped messing with the insulin/eating and got healthy - but we all know that doesn't work and I missed her too much to keep that up. We were best friends to the end. But gosh I wish she was still here.

Please take care of yourself.

Misspudding said...

I hear you about the sugar cravings and need to feel treated and loved like an actual kid. I stole toys and candy from the toy store. All of the time. I also broke into cars (I laugh just thinking about it that I never got caught and the fact that I totally forgot about it until now) and stole things that other kids got that I didn't. Just simple things. Things like...bangle bracelets.

My therapist, when I was seeing her, pulled out of me the fact that I was pretty sad about not having the nice stuff and not getting positive attention anywhere.

I don't get mad at my mom for being a bad mom, because I know she has her own issues. I get mad that she was just so numb. Again, not exactly her fault...she was as much of a child, mentally, as I was.

I hope you can move on from the pain and anger. Mourn the childhood that you didn't have and try to create a better future for yourself and the child you might have one day. I told myself I'd never have kids and then found myself pregnant with Anthony. It really changes your life and forces you to think about loving someone as much as you should love yourself. Scary stuff. Good stuff.


TinaM said...

This makes me so sad. And so angry.

You have every right to have expected her to protect you. THAT WAS HER JOB!!! And she didn't do it!!! And for her to say that now, (about what did you want her to do about it), shows that she just doesn't get that.
I don't understand how any mother could actually say that to her child after what you have gone through!!!

I know where your coming from, having a mother that just didn't put her children first... I was not molested. I just mean, my mother didn't do her job either. And I do hold a lot of anger about how I grew up.

I'm no therapist, but I noticed you said "In my whole life I've never been mad at my mom for not protecting me - I've felt sorry for her..." If it were me I would be furious. Are you sure you are not mad??? Maybe you are angry at her about what happened, maybe even subconsciously? If this is the case, maybe facing the fact that you ARE angry at her will help...

What do you think about going to a therapist with her??? To get it all out in the open. To be able to get all this off your chest? It might help.

Either way, I hope you don't let this ruin what you've worked so hard for. I know how stress can easily do that. You deserve to be happy. Don't let anyone ruin that!!! Especially her!

The Babe said...

I hear you. I really do. There must be something in the air because I'm craving carbs like a...carb-craver (I couldn't come up with anything more interesting) for the last 3 weeks. After months of little-to-no interest.

There is so much going on here that you'll need help unraveling it. Call me if you need a listener. I nod real good. :-)

Lala said...

Your blog is always so thought-provoking. Thank you for sharing these deep experiences (that are also shameful). I used to steal candy from my friends' houses and I snuck it from the places my parents hid it. I was always so ashamed of that. I think it's very powerful that even though you didn't say those words directly to your mother, you voiced them. I think there's something very powerful in that. Also, I wanted to thank you. I was reading some of your old posts, and a lot of what you said about your "perfect" boyfriend and how damaging it was (one of your earliest posts) helped me to finally break up with my boyfriend who has been verbally abusive about my weight for some time. It's really hard right now, but I know it's the right thing to do. I posted about it in my blog today, which also felt very freeing.

Amanda said...

I have never heard that idea about why kids might steal candy but it rings a bell with me. I used to sneak all kinds of sweet stuff from the kitchen and stashed it all over my room.

I think that you did a great job of putting your childhood into words. I was not molested, but I had a mother much like your own. I can't say that I've never been angry with mine, but I do know that she did her best and I definitely feel more sorry for her than anything.

I hear and understand and validate everything that you wrote. I really do get it. Enough that I know that you don't want any of us to hear or understand you; you want her to.

I have maintained my relationship with my mother knowing that she will never be able to give me what I want. My brother has cut ties with her because he can't give her that "out." I hope that you can find a way to get the closure you need on this in the healthiest way possible for you. Good luck.

Anonymous said...


Laura said...

I found your blog because you started following my friend Murn's blog. "smaller fun pants" intrigued me. The first post I read is your "open letter" to your Mom. Have you thought about giving it to her? You could use it to open a conversation of how she can support you now. The past is gone and done, but her current words are still hurting you. Call her on it. You could give her a list of "how to support me now" 1. Make only positive comments or remain silent
2. Give me advice only if I ask for it (on food, appearance, life)
Etc. etc. etc.
When she says that your lipstick is too dark, say "That doesn't feel supportive. Please make only positive comments about my appearance or none at all." You know your Mom's M.O. well enough to have general canned practiced responses. Keep up with the daily running and think of changing how your Mom talks to you as a marathon event not a 5K. Stick up for yourself...you are worth it! (wish I was running in Colorado)

Kris said...

I love you Anne. Thank you for the post which bears just a little more of your soul.
After my last therapy session I am working on reparenting my 'baby soul'. My inner 3 year old rears her ugly head often lately. Especially when I need some comfort and protection that my mom also did not provide.
Thank you Anne!

turleybenson said...

OK, so all this time I thought you had given up blogging, but here you are, writing these amazing posts all the while. HOW DID I MISS THAT?? I want to comment on every single post but instead I'll just say

Boo to your mother. Why are parents so stupid sometimes?

I have nothing like your experience, but I'm still constantly reminded of all the bad habits my mom so lovingly passed on to me, and it is so freakin lame.

Boo to lame parents. Hooray to us for recognizing crappy patterns and doing something about it.

But mostly, hooray to Anne. You're the best.